From Concepts to Textual Phenomena and Back: Operationalization in the Digital Humanities

Workshop ID:


Workshop Title:

From Concepts to Textual Phenomena and Back: Operationalization in the Digital Humanities


Melanie Andresen, Benjamin Krautter, Janis Pagel, Axel Pichler

Time (in JST and UTC):

July 25 21:00-July 26 0:30 (JST)

July25 12:00-15:30 (UTC)

Maximum number of participants:



The tutorial addresses one of the central challenges of the digital humanities: the operationalization of theoretical concepts from the humanities for computer-based research.

While humanities scholars primarily work with concepts that often encompass several textual phenomena and furthermore draw on contexts deemed relevant for their interpretation, computer-based work is bound to identifiable phenomena on the textual surface. The resulting discrepancy between theoretical expectations and concrete results needs to be bridged by an adequate operationalization. Thereby the goal is to develop procedures to trace theoretical concepts back to text surface phenomena via potentially several sub-steps.

Aim of the workshop/tutorial:

The aim of the tutorial is to raise awareness of the differences between humanities and computer-based approaches, to address typical challenges, and to develop different approaches for operationalizing theoretical concepts from the humanities. We are convinced that only by reflecting operationalization assumptions made during such a process, an appropriate handling of the results can be ensured.


The tutorial will focus on the practice of operationalization and its theoretical backgrounds: On the basis of selected use cases, we will show which challenges arise from the use of computational methods for questions in the humanities and how they can be dealt with. In a practical part, the participants will have the opportunity to work on the operationalization of relevant concepts for exemplary text analyses. For this purpose, we provide Jupyter notebooks for the prepared use cases. Programming skills are not required.